Monday, December 31, 2018

I made Emma say "ACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

...with my last post and it is unclear to me whether she was expressing surprise, disgust, or the sound one makes when one is strangling oneself.

On the other hand, Elephant's Child in Australia, otherwise known as Sue (Elephant's Child is, not Australia) wished a very Happy New Year to me and Mrs. RWP.

Graham Edwards who lives on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland posed the following question: "What happens (in relation to your calculations) if you live on top of Mount Chimborazo?"

Yorkshire Pudding was his usual snarky self, Kylie in Australia said she probably managed the ideal 10,000 steps a day, and Adrian from the little village of Auchtermuchy, Scotland said little wonder he is tired.

As Arte Johnson on Laugh-in used to say, “Ver-r-ry inter-r-resting!”

Here's what I have learned about Mount Chimborazo, about which I knew nothing. With a peak elevation of 6,263 m (20,548 ft), Mount Chimborazo is the highest mountain in Ecuador. It is the highest peak near the equator. Chimborazo is not the world's highest mountain by elevation above sea level -- that would be Mount Everest -- but its location along the equatorial bulge (we're an oblate spheroid, remember?) makes its summit the farthest point on the Earth's surface from the Earth's center. Thank you, Wikipedia.

The answer to Graham's question, "What happens...if you live on top of Mount Chimborazo?" is simple: You become higher than a kite.

We said yesterday that if you were on the equator you would travel about 25,000 miles each day (actually 24,910 miles or 24,898 miles or something -- it varies according to whom you read) because of the rotation of the earth on its axis even if you were standing still. But what if you live in Canton, Georgia, USA (34°13′38″N 84°29′41″W) or Paris, France (48°51′24″N 2°21′03″E) or Sydney, Australia (33°51′54″S 151°12′34″E)? How fast are you spinning?

Fasten your seat belts; it's going to be a bumpy night. (Bette Davis said that in All About Eve.)

Groucho Marx sang that you can learn a lot from Lydia. I find that I can learn a lot from Google, except that since I use Firefox I learn a lot from DuckDuckGo instead. Feast your eyes and mind on this:

"Earth's spin is constant, but the speed depends on the latitude at which you are located. Here's an example. The circumference (distance around the largest part of the Earth) is roughly 24,898 miles (40,070 kilometers), according to NASA. (This area is also called the equator.) If you estimate that a day is 24 hours long, you divide the circumference by the length of the day. This produces a speed at the equator of about 1,037 mph (1,670 km/h).

"You won't be moving quite as fast at other latitudes, however. If we move halfway up the globe to 45 degrees in latitude (either north or south), you calculate the speed by using the cosine (a trigonometric function) of the latitude. A good scientific calculator should have a cosine function available if you don't know how to calculate it. The cosine of 45 is 0.707, so the spin speed at 45 degrees is roughly 0.707 x 1037 = 733 mph (1,180 km/h). That speed decreases more as you go farther north or south. By the time you get to the North or South poles, your spin is very slow indeed — it takes an entire day to spin in place."

Finally, friends, let us all join in singing, wherever we are, that old French ditty, "Piroutte, gentille Pirouette, Pirouette, je te plumerai" and a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

And a very happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful 2019 to you all.

Here's a bit of advice from moi to toi for the coming year:

Always estimate that a day is 24 hours long and you won't go wrong.


  1. I was trying to relieve the pressure on my poor brain. I feared it might explode. Now that I have regained my senses... Happy New Year!

  2. Your final piece of advice there is mind blowing! Thanks Bob

  3. Happy New year and all the best for 2019.

  4. The beautiful spherical triangle. What consternation it used to cause.
    Happy New Year.

  5. Ah. But for most of us the waking part is the part where we get things done so that will vary from person to person and day to day (unless one is very habitual and not retired). Have a happy, healthy and interesting 2019.

  6. Oh golly gosh and my oh my - I simply loved this blogpost Mr Brague! It made me think about matters that rarely enter my snarky little mind.

  7. To all the commenters above, a mass "thank you!" and especially to our newest friend, Red. I hasten to assure the rest of you that you are not chopped liver by any means. I appreciate each and every person who stops by ye olde blog from time to time. (Note to Red: I talk about you a little in my next post.)

  8. I think it's an Alouette that's getting plucked, not a Pirouette. Or is Pirouette the G rated version?; I remember my shock when I took French and found out what was happening.

    1. Sally S, welcome to the blog! Wow, two new commenters on the same post. I'm grateful. Of course you are completely correct that it;s Alouette and not Pirouette. That was my attempt at humor as I have mentioned in the last couple of posts that a person standing at the North or South Pole does not travel 25,000 miles in 24 hours as the person standing on the equator does, but would make only a single pirouette. I have been singing the "Alouette" song since I was a child (I'm 77 now) so I do know the difference! I was attempting to be clever. I guess you had to have been there to get the joke.